Dietland (Walker)

Discussion Questions
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Also, consider these talking points to start a discussion for Dietland:

1. In an NPR interview, Sarai Walker said that fat bodies are "politicized bodies."

I don't mean political in terms of a political party; I mean structures of power—certain people having power and privilege. And so Plum comes to realize that her fat body, the mistreatment she receives because of it, is a political issue.

What exactly does Walker mean? Do thin people have more prestige than fat people; are fat people less empowered? Do you agree with her?

2. How does Plum allow her body size to determine her identity? Is that common for most of us, men as well as women? Consider this statement by the author, in same the NPR interview:

I think young girls are taught from a very young age—there's a lot of emphasis placed on "You look pretty," "You look cute." ... [A] tremendous amount of your value and your worth as a person is how you look.... [I]f we just look at our culture—we look at advertisements, we look at magazines, TV shows, movies—I mean that's really what's in our face all the time.

3. Talk about the ways in which Plum changes by the novel's end?

4. Do you consider Dietland a feminist novel? Is it a serious novel? Why or why not? Is Walker's message: "accept your body size and move on"? Or is it something, well, more subversive? Does humor make a difference in the book's seriousness (or lack of it)?

5. Other than appearance and body size, what else does Walker's satire take aim at in this book?

6. What part, if any, of Dietland resonates with you personally?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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